Sparkling like a precious gem

Every once in a while I come across a plant in the local garden center that seems to sit there and draw my attention in a seductive way like a Sirens’ song luring me away from the mission that brought me there in the first place. If that is not enough, it usually is a plant that I already have in the garden, healthy and happily serving its purpose.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Mariesii'

One of those alluring plants for me is a dwarf conifer with light green finely textured foliage and white variegation that almost seems to sparkle like a precious gem. I’ve mentioned before in the blog, that the dark grey winters where I live can sometimes suck the life right out of you. That’s certainly one reason why I love conifers so much – it’s their ability to brighten and add life to those dreary, dark winter days. Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Mariesii’ is certainly a plant that can brighten a dark day and shimmer with excitement in the brighter days of spring and summer!

I love the fine textured, variegated foliage and the tidy habit of this dwarf conifer. I’ve seen a specimen of close to 30 years old that has reached a height of 9 or 10 feet and a breadth of about the same. From a distance, ‘Mariesii’ looks like a nice, finely textured, light green mound, but upon closer inspection the wonderful white variegation really stands out. I’ve been enjoying mine in my rock garden for many years, but it’s getting to the size that I may need to either move it to a more spacious location or begin a pruning routine to allow me to keep it in its current place for a few more years.

Whatever I decide to do with my specimen, I’m afraid that every time I visit a garden center, I will hear the song of a new, younger plant tempting me to purchase a second one. And hey, what would be wrong with that?

Conifer Lover

Thanks to my friends at Iseli for the photo link!

Color spots

Every spring my wife wants to go to the local garden center and bring home “color spots.” You know, those annuals that you can buy in six or eight packs and plant them around the garden to provide splashes of color for a few months in spring and summer. I keep reminding her that dwarf conifers make great color spots.

For one thing, they last all year long – not just a few months. And secondly, they are such low maintenance – you never need to “dead head” them or constantly fertilize them to force their best performance.

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'White Pygmy'

Take Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘White Pygmy’ for example. Here’s a great dwarf conifer that appears as a speckled green and white mound. Over several years, this little ball of color will still be a very manageable size in the garden – very much the same scale as color spots tend to be – and all you need to do is plant it and enjoy!

Even in winter, ‘White Pygmy’ remains a bright spot in what would otherwise be an empty space where the color spot used to be.

It’s taking some time, but my wife is coming around – pretty soon, I think she might forget about those annuals all together.

Conifer Lover

Photo kindly provided by my friends at Iseli Nursery.